View full screen - View 1 of Lot 84. Submariner 'COMEX', Reference 16610  A stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet  Circa 1991  |  勞力士 | Submariner 'COMEX' 型號 16610 精鋼鍊帶腕錶備日期顯示,製作年份約 1991.
84

Rolex

Submariner 'COMEX', Reference 16610 A stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet Circa 1991 | 勞力士 | Submariner 'COMEX' 型號 16610 精鋼鍊帶腕錶備日期顯示,製作年份約 1991

Rolex

Rolex

Submariner 'COMEX', Reference 16610 A stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet Circa 1991 | 勞力士 | Submariner 'COMEX' 型號 16610 精鋼鍊帶腕錶備日期顯示,製作年份約 1991

Submariner 'COMEX', Reference 16610 A stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet Circa 1991 | 勞力士 | Submariner 'COMEX' 型號 16610 精鋼鍊帶腕錶備日期顯示,製作年份約 1991

Rolex

 

Submariner 'COMEX', Reference 16610

A stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet

Circa 1991


勞力士

Submariner 'COMEX' 型號 16610 精鋼鍊帶腕錶備日期顯示,製作年份約 1991

 

Dial: black

Calibre: cal. 3135 automatic, 31 jewels

Case: stainless steel, screw down case back

Case number: N'399'318

Closure: stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and folding clasp

Size: 40 mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 195 mm

Signed: case, dial and movement

Box: no

Papers: no

Accessories: Rolex service warranty card dated January 2021, service invoice and travel case

MVT: is running at the time of cataloging. The date is advancing.

CASE: is in good condition. It presents some fine scratches. The case has likely been polished. The crown has likely been replaced. The bracelet is in good condition. It presents light surface scratches. (bracelet ref. 93150, end link 501B, clasp R6)

DIAL: is in good condition. The hands present some scratches, in particular the hour hand. The hands and indexes present no reaction to UV-lighting.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."


**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."

Sotheby's, Hong Kong, December 2020, Lot 8032

While it is utterly undisputed that Rolex is well renowned for their collection of modern watches, their versatility and sturdy history, too, makes them a brand highly celebrated for collectable vintage timepieces. Among Rolex’s most famed watches are those made in partnership with COMEX. A French diving company founded by Henri Germain Delauze in 1961, COMEX and Rolex came into union in 1970 under a shared motive—to reach new, unprecedented depths in the underwater world. Rolex hit the ground running first in 1967 with the release of the first watch to ever be equipped with a helium escape valve. This new technology, though, needed to be refined and professionally tested—this is where COMEX came into the picture. The Rolex-COMEX strategic partnership consisted of Rolex providing COMEX with watches from their Submariner and Sea-Dweller series entirely free of cost and, in return, COMEX would send Rolex detailed performance reports and analyses.


Despite the partnership spanning a lengthy 27 years from 1970 to 1997 and seeing the release of 9 watches—references 5513, 5514, 1665, 1680, 16660, 16800, 16610, 168000, 16600—in both Submariner and Sea-Dweller series, Rolex-COMEX watches were produced in an extremely limited quantity. Furthermore, these already-limited watches had such a narrow, specific focus for underwater exploration that they were never sold publicly. And, having undergone extensive testing in highly extreme conditions, the small handful of watches were damaged over time. Thus, to have one’s hands on a COMEX watch is an utmost rarity. 


The present watch is a Rolex COMEX reference 16610. In production from 1986 to 1997, the 16610 is one of the later, more modern models characterized by a 1000ft/300m depth rating, sapphire crystal, cyclops window, caliber 3135 movement, and quick-set date function. But perhaps the most notable feature of the 16610 is its co-branded dial. To have the COMEX logo present on the dial is an incredible rarity and most certainly increases the value and collectability of the piece. The 16610, additionally, is the last Rolex model to display the COMEX logo atop its dial. In the ten-year period that this reference was in production, it is estimated that only 100 to 250 examples were made in total. On the back of this present watch, the COMEX issue number, 6394, can also be seen. Considering both fashion and function, this watch is undoubtedly a collector’s treasure. Coupled with its extreme exclusivity and rigorous rarity, the Rolex COMEX is perhaps the most collectible of vintage watches to date. 


The serial number between the lugs reads N399318—indicating that the watch at hand was produced in the year 1991. The inside of the case back, too, states the same serial number, further denoting that the case and the case back are matched. The present watch has been serviced by Rolex in January 2021